Keldrin's Divine Sigil
When the Unfallen awoke, they were lost and afraid. Alone they wandered the lands, amongst those that feared and misunderstood them. But then they found each other, and then they began to listen. They heard the words of their creator and saviour, Keldrin. He guided them to a land of their own, where they could live and thrive in peace. And there they could pray and show him that they would always listen to his wise words.An important practice that the Unfallen people have come to do in their daily rituals, is the prayer and use of an item called Keldrin's Divine Sigil. This sigil is a long candle affixed to the top of a well-crafted base in the shape of a skull; or in rare cases, a real skull is used for the candle holder. This symbol has become a sign of faith and thankfulness towards their god and creator Keldrin - Lord of the Unfallen. Many of the rituals and practices of the Unfallen's faith come from their clergy, the most devout of Keldrin's ilk. But Keldrin's Divine Sigil was a revelation of the people. When he still walked amongst his own, Vortaech the first of The Unfallen, spotted in the window of a humble citizen a crude construction. The earliest known example of the sigil. The skull base was simple and carved from dried and cracked wood the citizen had found lying around. Regardless, the candle burned brightly, unbothered by its shaky base, even in the middle of a windy morning. Vortaech asked the man what had driven him to craft such a thing, and the man told him that he had seen a vision of the sigil. It shone in his mind, swaying back and forth, it has captured his attention and he felt safe at that moment, as if in the embrace of his lord. He believed that it was Keldrin himself, showing him a sign that he was in his thoughts and wanted it to be known that he and the rest of the Unfallen would be safe under his eternal watch. The citizen continued by saying he wanted to show Keldrin that he had received his message and that he and all the Unfallen believed in his guidance now and forever. Vortaech was touched by the gesture and knew the importance of his revelation. Vortaech would return to the church, speaking highly of the event he had witnessed to the rest of the clergy. Vortaech praise of the man's gesture would eventually spread across all of Keldavor. Soon all the citizens of the capital were crafting or acquiring their own sigils, placing them in their windows, besides their beds, and anywhere they thought would catch the eye of Keldrin. Shortly thereafter, various prayers and rituals would begin to involve the sigil in some way. And now, it is an integral part of the Unfallen's daily rituals and faith.
The skull symbolizes the people of the Unfallen race, and the flame of the candle represents the everlasting wisdom and guidance of their creator and God the Dead, Keldrin - Lord of the Unfallen. Keldrin's Divine Sigil is said to show whom the most devout amongst his flock are, people believing that it reveals who the true heralds of the Unfallen people truly are. The flame of the sigil burning brighter and longer for those who are truly amongst his chosen. And those that show Keldrin that they are listening and believe and trust in his words will be embraced by him for eternity. During special rituals held in The Church of Vortaech, the capital's largest and most magnificent cathedral, citizens gather and lend their personal sigils to a grand ceremony. During this ceremony, hundreds, if not thousands, of Keldrin's Divine Sigil are collected and displayed inside the church. During the ritual, each candle is lit, and by the end of the priest's sermon, the entire church has been brightened by the glow of the collected candles. It is a grand and important ceremony that the citizens of Keldavor await with excitement each time it is held.
In Keldavor living creatures are rare so tallow wax candles are nearly non-existent, so instead the Unfallen use wax that is specially prepared using the Balerus fruit. This fruit is a common crop in the south-western region of the world and is often turned into a spice. The spice is made after the adult fruit is harvested, dried and then ground. It has a nutty and spicy flavour with a deep burgundy hue. It is quite popular and is used to make a hot tea served alongside mid-day meals or snacks. While grown in large fields in nearby Casarei, in Keldrin it is more common to find the fruit growing in small pots in the homes of Unfallen citizens. Others have begun attempts at growing larger yields of the fruit outside the city limits. Though these plots are uncommon and often unsuccessful as the lands surrounding the city are quite dangerous. When the fruit is ready to be harvested it is placed whole in large pots of boiling water and left for several hours. An odd property of the fruit's skin causes whatever leftover water that didn't evaporate to turn into a wax-like substance. While it is still pliable it is formed into tall thin candles and left to dry. When they are dried they are a light red and are fairly brittle, so caution while using them is required. While these candles don't burn as brightly or as long as a tallow wax candle, they give off a pleasant and somewhat sweet aroma, while giving off only small amounts of smoke. Once the candles have been prepared it can be affixed to the chosen base, typically crafted from stone or a specially treated wood that won't burn or scorch. These bases are carved by talented artists and craftsmen across the city of Keldavor. While the Unfallen people do not use currency, it is common to barter and trade for goods and services. Expertly crafted bases often demand trade of high-quality items or other professional services in return. In rare circumstances, these bases are constructed from real bone or an actual skull. If an Unfallen decides that it is time for his spirit to move on from this plane and to join Keldrin at his side, their bodies are kept in the grand mausoleum below the Church of Vortaech. Upon the request of the deceased, their skull can be gifted to a family or individual of their choosing. Since the Unfallen people do not die of natural causes this is rare and is considered a high honour for those that are gifted the skull of a loved one. These gifted skulls are used only on special occasions and are meticulously cleaned and cared for.
In an odd twist, stories of Keldrin's Divine Sigil have begun to spread to other nations, particularly Heldrin, and Casarei due to their close proximity to the Unfallen Lands. The Unfallen are a secretive people, and it is rare for any information on their culture of practices of faith to leak to foreign ears. Regardless of the circumstance in which this information spread what is known is that the practice and use of Keldrin's Divine Sigil have begun amongst people not of the Unfallen. Though the practice, purpose, and design slightly differ due to cultural differences between the Unfallen and the communities that have seen use of this item. There are those that pray to Keldrin outside of Keldavor, those that aren't Unfallen but are devoted to him nonetheless. For them the sigil is a divine godsend, and even though most practice his faith in secrecy due to concerns of prosecution or harassment they still wish to show signs of public faith to him. Those that worship Keldrin using his divine sigil have changed certain aspects of its design in order to avoid attracting curious eyes. Most use tallow candles, as they are easier to come by and burn brighter and longer. And instead of affixing the candle to a skull, they instead use a candle holder made of lead and iron that is branded with one of Keldrin's holy symbols or divine forms. The brand sometimes resembles the original version of the Divine Sigil but more often people choose one of Keldrin's subtler symbols, opting to use imagery of one of his divine forms in the raven. These branded symbols are often small enough that they wouldn't be noticed unless closely examined.
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